Creating the Future You Want

    By Jennifer Bonilla

    If you’re a working hotel professional, it’s easy to get busy and not make time to think about the future you want to create for yourself. With expanding regulations and an increasingly complex society, moving your career forward in the hospitality industry means proving you can handle a variety of situations professionally. It also means demonstrating leadership qualities—not just management qualities. Here are a few professional development areas to consider as you work toward broadening and improving your skills.

    Preventing Sexual Harassment

    More and more states are requiring training that protects you and the hotel you work for. For example, California now requires sexual harassment prevention training that helps employees identify and react appropriately to sexual harassment. Taking a training course geared specifically for the hotel and hospitality industry will help you steer clear of or know how to handle inappropriate behavior at work.

    Better Serving Guests with Disabilities

    More and more guests with disabilities are in the tourism marketplace. No matter how well intentioned you are, it’s essential to know how to offer guests with disabilities the same level of service as other guests, and it’s vital that you feel comfortable and calm when providing service. Consider taking a training course that helps you understand how to welcome guests with disabilities, and how to feel confident in your interactions.

    Avoiding Unconscious Bias

    Unconscious biases are stereotypes that you hold outside of your conscious awareness. Everyone has unconscious biases, and they affect many of the decisions we make. Displaying unconscious bias at work can lead to tension—or volatile situations—with guests. To grow professionally, you must learn to identify your own biases so that you can offer all guests the same excellent level of service.

    Take a training course that will help you identify your own unconscious biases, and know how to de-escalate tense situations before they become disruptive or dangerous.

    Becoming a Leader

    Managers and leaders are different; to develop professionally, you may want to set your sights higher than a management position. Of course, good managers are essential, but leaders drive the success of the organization. If being a leader is your idea of a fulfilling career, leadership training can help you learn how to:

    • Present your ideas in a way that makes employees enthusiastic about being part of them
    • Set long-term direction for the organization
    • Align employees with the organization’s vision and goals
    • Coach employees so they perform at their best
    • Gain trust and encourage team members to be personally responsible for the organization’s success
    • Take calculated risks
    • Promote and present change as opportunities for growth and greater success

    Fitting Growth Into a Busy Schedule

    Luckily, today’s technology means there are excellent training programs and professional certifications offered online. When choosing training or certification, make sure that organization behind the program has a long-term track record in the industry, like the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute, so you know the material is thorough and your certification will be taken seriously.

    When you complete additional training or certifications, you strengthen your image as a leader. Even in the hectic world of hospitality, it pays to take time to think about where you want to go in your career and take steps to get there. 

    Jennifer Bonilla has been with American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute for ten years. Her passion is bringing the best training and professional development resources to hotel corporations to help their staff gain knowledge about hospitality industry and get validation by earning professional certification.